“Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) is an abnormal narrowing of the larynx. It occurs in some people during high intensity exercise or exposure to certain irritants. This leaves only a small opening for air to flow through the windpipe which can feel like you can’t get enough air into your lungs. It can cause symptoms that mimic asthma. ” (Taken from https://www.nationaljewish.org/health-insights/health-infographics/understanding-vocal-cord-dysfunction)
Often times VCD (vocal cord dysfunction) is misdiagnosed as asthma. Mine was… until I saw a specialist a few years ago. I have had VCD since 2014 ish…. and I honestly had never heard of it before hand. But when I would be around certain things, like windy situations, dust, or cold season, I would get a horrible cough and feel like I couldn’t breath…. for months…
For me, wearing a mask helps me breath. The irritant is air right now, allergies, and my reflux. If I talk too much I cough, if I go outside I cough, it’s hard to pin point an exact cause. But I was diagnosed a long time ago and honestly I have only had a few flare ups, but when they do happen, they last for months!
My doctors kept thinking it was asthma, they gave me an inhaler, and it wouldn’t always work. I felt like my inhaler was useless. I would take it too much thinking that maybe I just didn’t use it right. But then I remembered about my VCD… of course an inhaler won’t work for this!! So I tried other things… a mask, and it worked.
Of course, now instead of coughing everywhere all the time, I have a very noticeable face mask. It was embarrassing at first. But so is coughing everywhere.
I am going to keep wearing this mask and let people know about vocal cord dysfunction…because I never heard about it before I was diagnosed. My husband thought I was crazy at first until I started wearing the mask and stopped coughing all over him. He is accepting of it and agrees this will help me out in the long run. We think that since I have been coughing for over a month now non stop that my throat is irritated and that if I let it heal, maybe I can go back to a semi normal cough free day. Honestly my VCD only acts up during certain times of the year, its not all year for me.
I don’t feel that I want to go to speech therapy yet. I would like to work on things at home first, and then if things don’t get better, schedule for a referral. Then they would teach me how to not cough all the time some how… I just don’t have time for it right now and the mask is just so much easier.
But for those of you who have VCD, what helped you? When did you get diagnosed? Did your doctor think it was asthma at first?
My VCD only acts up between Spring and Summer… I don’t usually have issues in the fall. I cough so hard that I get sick… and can’t breath. I can’t talk or I get out of breath, and everyone looks at you like you have the plague. It’s annoying at most.
Drinking water helps calm my throat and sucking on candy helps me sometimes.